"Avatar" director donates dive craft, says 3D movie due in fall

Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:51pm EDT
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By John Gaudiosi

(Reuters) - Film director James Cameron is donating the Deepsea Challenger craft he used to make a record-setting solo dive a year ago to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to speed research into the deepest parts of the world's oceans.

Cameron, who is focused now on pre-production for the sequels to his blockbuster movie "Avatar," said he hoped the donation to the non-profit research facility in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, would bring the technology he developed for the undersea craft into the mainstream.

In a telephone interview marking the one-year anniversary of his nearly 7-mile-deep (11.2-km-deep) dive in the western Pacific, the Oscar-winning director said that scientists had identified more than 60 new species, including bacteria, from material he brought back.

Cameron expects to release a long-awaited 3D movie of the dive in movie theaters in the fall of 2013.

Cameron also directed the 1997 movie "Titanic" as well as undertaking and filming several underwater expeditions exploring the wreck of the ship in the North Atlantic.

Q: What impact do you hope the Deepsea Challenger's transfer to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will have on continued research?

A: It drives public attention to the need for new technology and funding for deep ocean work, which WHOI is the leader of in this country. It will have a very specific and immediate effect of new vehicles and new vehicle platforms, our cameras, our communications, our syntactic foam and battery systems, they'll incorporate into their future stuff. The way we solved problems is so outside the box, they're eager to bring that into their projects.

I could leave the sub in my barn, but that's not going to do anybody any good while I'm off making "Avatar" films for the next few years. I want this technology to be out there and dynamic and adaptive.   Continued...

Director James Cameron announce a long-term agreement which will bring "Avatar" themed lands to Disney parks with the the first at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, as he speaks at a media briefing in Glendale, Calfornia September 20, 2011. REUTERS/Fred Prouser